Friday, 30 June 2017

Day 70

The plan to get out of Chengdu city was to follow Kevin, and I was not the only one with that idea as there were at least 7 bikes behind him to start with, but unfortunately we got split up through the heavy morning traffic. However, we did manage it and after what seemed like ages and ages, we were finally out of the city.

There were a few photos stops today, and the higher temperature also persuaded us to stop more to take on additional liquid, but non-alcoholic !

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Day 69

Due to an extended stay at the Shamrock Irish bar last night, myself and a couple of others from the group are not feeling too good this morning!

The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding was a greatplace to see the Pandas from fully grown adults right down to recently born baby Pandas in incubators.

Time for some food.

This Panda was expressing just how I felt.

We even got to see one of the small Red Pandas too !!

And not just Pandas either...

After the visit to the Pandas we stopped off to look a typical old style Chinese stret in Chengdu. Although the street itself was old and original, everywhere had been restored to look good for the tourists.

Although I had sobered up a bit by mid afternoon, I still didn't feel as cheerful as this chap!

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Day 68

The ride from Mnt Emie to Chengdu was not a long ride, but there was a stop early on which took up some time.  

This stop was to catch a boat ride to see The Leshan Giant Buddha. At 71 meters high, this is the worlds largest and tallest stone Buddha statue and is carved into a rock face so that the stone sculpture faces Mount Emei.

The only problem was that the early morning sun was rising from behind the statue and this meant that the photos didn’t turn out as well as I hoped.

There was no other photo stops that day apart from when a couple of us stopped at a car wash to get our bikes cleaned ready for maintenance checks. 

Our ride into Chengdu did not go quite as planned but we did eventually get to the hotel despite the fact that we ended up on the express way where motorcycles are forbidden and also rode our bikes through a pedestrian and cycle area in order to get around a closed street, but we got away with both so it was mission accomplished.
Thankfully we were not the last in as there was still three other riders out there!

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Day 67

There was a large wedding reception going on in the hotel last night and the underground car park plus the area above were jammed with cars and not just in the allocated spaces but every bit of the space had been used to its fullest. This meant we had to wait until the cars had been moved before leaving ourselves.
Once on the road and out of town it was a nice ride. Amounst the lush green scenery there was more concrete roads, tunnels, 4x4’s and trucks to contend with.

One large 4x4 drove down the outside of everyone in line beeping his horn as if he was the most important person on the road and then when a vehicle was coming towards him he tried to push me out of the way to get back in line. Well I was having none of it, I sounded my horn several times but he still insisted being in the space that me and mu motorcycle were in, so I then resorted to trying to kicking the side of his vehicle, although I did miss, he obviously saw this in his side mirror and backed off. Next time he tried this manoeuvre he made dam sure he went further down the line to push in.

I did stop a few times for photos and joined four other riders on the final leg through the city traffic.
The final leg of the journey was through the city and by this time there were five of us riding together. I was at the back most of the time and we carved our way through the traffic using our horns as you are supposed to and took every opportunity to make progress by using any lane available. It was great fun and as usual, some of the locals were taking photos of us from their cars when we stopped at traffic lights.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Day 66

We were warned that this day on past trips had been a tough day, especially if wet so it was an early start, ready to tackle whatever we had in front of us.
But once again, new roads and tunnels meant that it was much easier than expected and today we didn’t encounter any snow up on the high passes either.

There were lots of bends as we rode the last pass and we shared this space with quite a few other vehicles, especially trucks that were over taking each other whilst approaching blind bends. Now maybe these drivers could see round the rock face or maybe they were just plain stupid and chancing their luck. I would tend to go for the latter!
Although there was no rain to speak of, the roads were wet from the water that the trucks have pouring over their brakes on these mountain roads to keep them cool, so this meant there was a lot of water on the bends so extra care was taken whilst I negotiated these bends on my worn TKC80 tyres.

I steadily picked off each truck at a time but when I got down to the busy town areas where the trucks were still over taking each other and ended up causing jams I was a bit more selective as to which trucks I attempted to overtake myself as I didn’t want to get mixed up between these crazy drivers as I knew being the smaller vehicle I would be the one expected to move out of the way despite of who’s side of the road it was.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Day 65

The day started quite damp and as we climbed the pass it just got wetter and colder.
Then we saw the trucks that were coming down had a covering of snow on the front of their cabs and this was not a good sign. Sure enough as we approached the summit the snow came down and the temperature dropped to 0.5 degrees.
However, as we descended the other side the snow stopped and the temperature rose revealing the lush green on the mountain side.                                                                                                                   
We crossed the Mekong river today via an old Tibetan bridge which made for a great photo stop and later crossed was the Yangze but this was not so photogenic as the Mekong.

The last part of the ride on the Sichuan-Tibet Highway was awesome with narrow roads and a rock face one side and the rushing waters on the other side.
There were plenty of sections that with broken up road or rock slides blocking half the road meaning that the trucks were backing up as the ones in the other direction proceeded cautiously, and then us motorcyclists bypassed many of the queues riding down the side and waiting our turn at the front to negotiate the hazards before us.

There was one section where part of the road had completely collapsed but they just made another temporary road to the side to keep the traffic flowing.
It was such a thrill to ride this part of the Sichuan-Tibet Highway and made for another excellent Sunday ride out that beats the normal run to the café back home anytime!